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Tom asked...

Can I take a private CT scan to see if my arteries are blocked?

I am 64, I smoke, I am overweight, my BP is 140/90, I do not take a lot of exercise. I was wondering if I can take a private CT scan to see if any of my arteries are furred up or blocked with calcium?

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The answer

It is possible to calculate your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (heart attack or stroke) by using your age, smoking status, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. You don’t need a fancy scan to do this. It is more than likely that your risk will be elevated because at 64, you are already on medications for blood pressure and you smoke. A CT scan may be able to detect some arterial disease, but  even if it does not, your risk factors for developing heart disease in the future, remain the same. A CT scan cannot predict when an artery may block in the future. The only way to prevent a heart attack in the future is to modify your risk factors. A CT scan won’t change anything, but you may want to spend the money if you think it may scare you into changing your lifestyle.

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